Fleeting Fledglings

In early May four robins hatched inside a nest perched up high on our downspout.

When I spied the first chick to leave the nest, I assumed one of our dogs had mauled it. It was just sitting on a ledge on our fence looking ruffled and dazed.

I even placed a hysterical call to a wildlife rehabilitator’s voicemail.

I was viewing the rumpled mess from our screened porch. I locked the door that leads to our back yard so the dogs couldn’t get to it and inflict more damage.

It turned out the baby bird was just chilling. Mama and papa robin were watching over it. Soon they began to teach it to fly. The chick was in good hands, but it was clear in observing this process, that the fledgling’s parents were anxious for it to gain independence.

This morning our middle child was preparing for a day of fishing by gathering his tackle box and pole. I liked how his t-shirt matched his swim trunks. It reminded me of when I used to dress him. I told him he looked cute. He wasn’t very interested in my comment. Instead, he was clearly intent on going off to fish with the boys.

My daughter, our youngest, is also doing more and more with friends. She’s spreading her social wings. With our oldest son, my competition is Sponge Bob. His main inspiration for leaving home is to ride his bike to Chick Filet.

Sometimes I’m not happy about any of it. I want more time with them. These kids, my fledglings, are in various stages of leaving the nest.

Other times, like when they are bickering and being loud, or eating a week’s worth of groceries in a day, I don’t even want to wait for them to leave the nest, I want to leave.

Nature has precision. Robins know just what to do when their chicks hatch. Childrearing in humans is messy. At times it can be unpredictable and chaotic. But even when it seems arduous, it is still fleeting.

I won’t have these guys around forever.

For example, look at my son who went fishing. He was so quick to depart, that I couldn’t even pack him a snack.

But maybe, just maybe, I can have something special for him when he comes home.